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Is it possible to have a "stand-alone" Torah service, not connected to a statutory prayer? I saw this done on Shavuot once, where some people who slept through davening convened a minyan solely for the purpose of hearing the aseret ha-dibrot read, and did a three-aliyah kriat ha-torah. Anyone know how this works, if at all?


Clarification based on the OP's comments (@VincentCalabrese):

What I'm most interested in is the possibility of a kriat ha-torah with no connection to the prescribed reading cycle; if I had some urge to read shirat ha-yam today [or any day] could I get a minyan together to do it? That sort of thing. Any idea on whether that's possible?

What are the circumstances in which a stand-alone Torah service can be preformed and what is the procedure?

  • @Isaac, I'm not sure that this question was about shavuos. Vincent, is your question specifically about a stand-alone kriyah on Shavuos, or in general? – Shokhet Jan 2 '15 at 4:00
  • @Shokhet, it doesn't have to be solely about Shavuot for it to be worth bringing up when you browse through shavuos-related questions. – Isaac Moses Jan 2 '15 at 4:04
  • The question was not really Shavuot-specific, that was just the only time I'd ever seen something of the sort and thought it might be permissible then but not on, for example a random Sunday afternoon. But really the question was more about the Sunday afternoon type situations. – Vincent Calabrese Jan 2 '15 at 4:27
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    @msh mine is definitely worse. Something about a frog-man saying no to a story? :) – Double AA Jan 2 '15 at 5:32
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    There is definitely a push by Chabad on Shavuos to get the public to hear the 10 Commandments read from the Torah. I don't know the source. – Desert Star Jan 2 '15 at 14:04
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There was a case with a group of shochtim who could not get a minyon for Shacharis on a Monday or Thursday. They were able to meet during their lunch break to have a minyon to lein.

Update: Found this reference Can the Torah be read in shul if a minyan is present after the point in the service designated for Torah reading?

One Monday there was a mess up with traffic so we did not get a full minyon for Shacharis until after everyone had finished (we have the minyon at a military base before we start work). We leined before starting work.

Rabbi Yoseph Caro rules in Shulhan Arukh, Orech Hayim 135:1 that the Torah must be read the three prescribed times during the week, and the Mishnah Berurah on the site (subparagraph 1) explains that bedi'avad [after the fact, if it wasn't done in the morning for some reason] the Torah can be read at any time of the day.

See also Responsa Yehuda Ya'aleh (Rabbi Judah ben Israel Assad, Hungary, 19th century), Orech Hayim, chapter 51, in which he describes the case of three rabbis traveling, who prayed at a hotel in the morning, but did not have a minyon. Upon arriving at a village in the late afternoon they were able to gather a minyan and lein at the local shul.

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    Thanks, that's all interesting and instructive. But these examples, and those others have posted, seem to all be about people doing 'tashlumin' of sorts. What I'm most interested in is the possibility of a kriat ha-torah with no connection to the prescribed reading cycle; if I had some urge to read shirat ha-yam today could I get a minyan together to do it? That sort of thing. Any idea on whether that's possible? – Vincent Calabrese Jan 4 '15 at 14:30
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    Usually I try to avoid messing up transliterations, but Assad suggests that he was a Mizrachi, or similar. He is named for Aszód, a smaller town in Hungary where he was born. – Kazi bácsi Jun 2 at 13:33
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A student of R' Yosef Ber Soloveitchik told me that occasionally, when flying in from Boston, he would miss his opportunity to hear kri'as haTorah, and would have a minyan assembled to do so. Apparently, it was done somewhat regularly. So, at least R' Soloveitchik held it was an acceptable thing to do.

I was told that this practice is actually taking sides in a dispute of whether Kri'as HaTorah is an obligation on the individual or on the congregation. If it is on the congregation, then there is no basis for such a practice. But if hearing the Torah read is an individual obligation, then it could be performed on behalf of an individual.

  • Thanks (the individual vs communal obligation piece is especially interesting), but see my comment response above to sabbahillel. – Vincent Calabrese Jan 4 '15 at 14:31
  • @VincentCalabrese Your example is a poor one, then. You could edit your question to clarify that point, although (due to site policy) you should try to do so in a way that does not invalidate existing answers. – Y     e     z Jan 4 '15 at 18:29
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I have seen this done in Israel to make up for people who missed one of the Shabbos parshios due to traveling to Israel during a period when the parshios in Israel and outside of Israel are not synchronized.

I also see it after davening for Parshas Zachor for people (usually women) who missed the kiria during davening.

I have also seen it on Simchas Torah, where several Torah readings take place simultaneously during the dancing, so that everyone can get an aliya without holding up the main service.

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    "Anyone know how this works, if at all?" This sounds like a comment – Double AA Jan 2 '15 at 4:45
  • I've heard that done with other Parshios, and seen it done with Zachor (I might have even lained it myself a couple times separately, I don't remember). As an aside, when Zachor was read, it was read without the Brachos before and after, if I remember correctly, although my memory is quite fuzzy on that part. – Salmononius2 Jan 2 '15 at 4:46
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    I was answering the "is it possible" part of the question. "how this works" ... I don't understand the question. – Desert Star Jan 2 '15 at 4:49
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    By "how it works", I mean to ask "what are the circumstances in which a stand-alone Torah service can be preformed and what is the procedure." – Vincent Calabrese Jan 2 '15 at 6:02
  • It seems that there are no restrictions, as long as there is a minyan, and there is some kind of mitzva (or minhag) to be fulfilled involving reading the Torah. – Desert Star Jan 2 '15 at 14:02

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